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Wildfire Relief

Emergency Response

Cal Fire firefighters try to contain the Dixie Fire from spotting across Highway 395 on August 17, 2021 near Milford, California. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

How Direct Relief Responds

Medical aid: Direct Relief supports safety net providers and others responding to the crisis with specialized wildfire kits, N95 masks, first aid supplies, and requested medications.


Emergency Funding: The organization assists responding organizations with emergency grants and funding to increase community resilience.


Solar and Resilient Power: Direct Relief works with local healthcare providers to provide a range of solutions, from backup power units to large-scale solar and battery installation projects.


Analysis: Through partnerships with academic researchers, Direct Relief’s specialized Research and Analysis team provides data-based tools to help governments and first responders make informed decisions about wildfires.

Wildfire Prep and Response

Wildfires are increasing in frequency and severity across the United States, turning what were once distinct fire seasons into a nearly year-round threat.

And as with other disasters, those most vulnerable to the effects of a wildfire are people who were most vulnerable the day before:

  • They may be low-income or from an underserved community.
  • They may be people of color, people experiencing homelessness, older adults, or people whose primary language is not English.
  • They may have mobility or transportation issues.

Wildfires threaten health in many ways, particularly for these vulnerable individuals. Even aside from the immediate threat of burns or wounds, particulates in the air can make respiratory or cardiovascular issues worse, even sending those affected to the emergency room. People evacuating without needed medications or treatments can experience acute medical crises as their conditions go unmanaged.

And because wildfires are so destructive, ripping through hundreds of thousands of acres, they can leave whole communities displaced and struggling for years afterward – often with a profound impact on long-term health.

Active US Fire Tracker

The fire map below shows the boundaries surrounding an active fire, while the dashboard records a tally of active fires burning and total acres burned.

A Fast Response: Investment in the Future

Direct Relief responds to wildfires across the western United States, providing a wide variety of requested medical aid, from wound care to chronic disease treatments, and distributing emergency grant funding.

But aid doesn’t stop there. Direct Relief is prepared to help communities over the long haul by supporting local health organizations, improving resilience, and working to increase access to care in communities affected by wildfires and other emergencies.

As in other disaster scenarios, those affected by wildfires face a difficult set of tasks in moving from acute emergency response to recovery to rebuilding, often facing significant obstacles in the process. Wildfires can quickly change direction, leaving those nearby with little time to evacuate, and because wildfires destroy so much so quickly, they can be one of the more difficult disasters to recover from.

Wildfires can be incredibly difficult to contain, leaving nearby residents’ air quality diminished by heavy smoke and ash for days on end. While masks and medication can make a significant difference, people with asthma and other respiratory conditions face the greatest health risks from airborne particulate matter during wildfires.

Fire Relief: How to Help

All donations to Direct Relief for wildfires are used exclusively to fund fire relief efforts.

tesla solar units

Power for Health

As climate change-fueled fire and hurricane seasons intensify in the US, Direct Relief is helping ensure the U.S. nonprofit health care safety net is better prepared, more resilient, and better equipped to remain operational through disaster-caused blackouts that have become increasingly common, particularly during wildfires.

Learn More

Humanitarian Cold Chain

Limited cold-chain distribution capacity creates an obvious, practical barrier to people obtaining access to medications and therapies – even when they are free.

map of fires in CA

Analyzing Wildfire Risk

Research and maps from Direct Relief, Harvard, and Columbia give real-time info to government and nonprofits.